The average timing belt replacement cost in Australia is between $500 and $1,000 depending on the engine and vehicle type. Replacing a timing belt is one of the most expensive and intensive services a mechanic can offer; however, failure to do so often times leads to irreparable and expensive engine damage.
There are many factors that impact the average cost of a timing belt or chain replacement, and in most cases, it comes down to the type of engine in your vehicle, the price of the parts, and the complexity of changing it. For example, if you own a car with a robust room under its hood, and a professional auto mechanic can replace the timing chain in two hours or less.
On the other hand, it will take the same auto mechanic four to six hours to replace the timing belt, due to the complexity of the engine’s design and tight space; however, in both cases, the water pump should also be replaced, which can add additional parts and labour cost to the overall job.
Other Auto Repair Services That May Be Required
If your timing belt or chain breaks, you can expect that other components like the water pump, AC unit, valves, pistons or the engine may need to be replaced in addition to the new timing belt or timing chain. Since labour rates are rather expensive when it comes to changing a timing belt, it’s also a good idea to replace your water pump, pulleys, tensioners, and front seals rather than to pay additional labour fees down the road because those components have just as many kilometres as your timing belt does.
Both timing belts and timing chains play a vital role in internal combustion engines. They synchronize the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft, which enable the engine’s valves to close and open at precise times during each cylinder’s exhaust and intake strokes. Additionally, timing belts and chains make sure the valves, cylinder heads, and pistons all work in perfect harmony.
Timing belts are made with rubber; however, not to be confused with a serpentine belt which transfers the mechanical power for components like the water pump, alternator or air conditioner. Timing belts are an internal component while serpentine belts are located on the outside of the motor, and they can be replaced easily by releasing the pressure on the belt tensioner and installing the new belt.
Timing chains are made with metal rather than timing belts engineered from rubber. A timing chain is an internal engine component which gets lubricated by the engine’s oil in order for everything to work in unison. When an engine fires over, the timing chain will also be running. It connects the camshaft to the crankshaft. Metal chain links are used in the chain to ride over the toothed sprockets attached to the end of the camshaft and crankshaft in order to rotate at the same time.
It’s important to note, not all vehicles use a rubber timing belt. Most of today’s vehicles use timing chains, and most of the vehicles manufactured before 1995 use a timing belt. If you’re unsure if you have a timing chain or timing belt on your vehicle’s engine, read your owner’s manual. Additionally, it should also tell you how many kilometres or months before your vehicle’s engine will need a timing chain replacement or timing belt change.
There are a variety of elements that can affect the life of a timing belt such as exposure to airborne contaminants, oil leaks, coolant seepage, humidity, extreme temperatures, frequent engine starts or stops, and kilometres driven. Those elements will take their toll on your timing belt because it adds additional flexing and friction to the timing belt, and eventually they will wear out and degrade.
Since each vehicle will differ for a timing belt change, it’s always best to check the recommended schedule in your owner’s manual. A good rule of thumb is to replace your timing belt every four years or 40,000 to 150,000km, whichever comes first. Due to the fact that timing belts are constructed from rubber, both heat and stress from the engine can cause either cause the belt to wear down or to stretch and slip. Either case is a bad situation because it can wear out other engine components rather quickly, which becomes a very robust repair bill.
Symptoms for a Timing Belt Replacement
Since timing belts and timing chains can and do fail over a certain amount of time or kilometres driven, it’s important to recognise the symptoms in order to have it replaced before it completely fails. Here are some signs that your timing belt or chain needs to be changed:
The Process to Replace a Timing Belt
The process to replace a timing belt or chain requires technical and advanced knowledge of mechanical engineering systems. There will be many components to remove and reinstall correctly. A certified mechanic would follow the following steps:
Although the process sounds easy enough, it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. There’s also a variety of specialised tools required such as timing lights and torque wrenches to set the timing of your engine, and it should be performed by a qualified and professional auto mechanic for the best results and warranties.
The average timing chain replacement cost or a timing belt change in Australia can cost about $120 with complete kits costing between $200 to $950, depending on the make and model of a vehicle.
Prices for Different Sized Cars
Depending on the type of vehicle that you own, will determine the overall cost of replacing a timing belt. Use the following examples to give yourself a better idea of what you can expect to pay:
Estimates for Other Services Related to Replacing a Timing Belt
Due to the fact that replacing a timing belt is due to high mileage, other parts should be considered as well because sooner or later, they will fail, and it’s actually less expensive to replace them now while the timing cover is off. For most vehicles, you can expect to pay between $150 to $325 for replacing your drive belt tensioner, $500 to $900 for an air conditioner condenser, $300 to $800 for a water pump replacement, and about $2000 for a new engine.
The cost for replacing a timing belt from state to state and city to city fluctuates, depending on the vehicle and labour rates of the repair service; however, the average cost is between $500 and $1,000. Below are some averages and examples of what you can expect to pay:
|State/Territory||Averaged Reported Cost|
|New South Wales||$500 – $800|
|Victoria||$600 – $800|
|Queensland||$600 – $900|
|City||Averaged Reported Cost|
Tip #1: Always get at least two or three quotes from local certified auto mechanics, be prepared as the price can be shocking and expensive.
Tip #2: You should know what the regular service includes. For example, is the shop’s price for just replacing the timing belt or does it include the water pump, tensioners, and seals.
Tip #3: You can expect anywhere between four to six hours for labour to replace a timing belt on most vehicles, and to be on the safe side, you should set yourself a budget around $1000 for most timing belt repairs.
You should always go with a certified auto mechanic who has the specialised tools, equipment, and experience to do the job correctly. Some good questions to find out include:
Tip #1: When it comes to regular services, get a written quote of the work to be done, including parts and labour. You can save money by shopping around, and don’t go with the first quote because it’s close to home.
Tip #2: Keep in mind that other parts like the water pump, front seals, tensioners, and pulleys may need to be replaced as well. You can save money by purchasing the complete timing belt kit, which includes these extra parts.
Tip #3: It’s important to understand that most timing belt repairs can take several hours, and you should expect to be without your car for at least one day or more, depending on your auto mechanic’s schedule.
* The cost data is based on Oneflare and third-party sources
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